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Customer Reviews

Audio-Technica VM540ML

Dual moving magnet phono cartridge with MicroLine® stylus

MFR # VM540ML

Audio-Technica VM540ML

Audio-Technica VM540ML

Dual moving magnet phono cartridge with MicroLine® stylus

MFR # VM540ML

12 reviews
View this product

Audio-Technica VM540ML

Crutchfield customer from Cleveland, OH on 1/30/2021

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Nice upgrade from the 440mlb. Same stylus as the 740 minus the aluminum body.

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2 of 2 found this helpful

Homely looks, beautiful sound, great value.

Crutchfield customer from Kernersville, NC on 11/12/2020

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Back in the 1980s when I got my first budget audiophile turntable (Harman-Kardon T60C), I had a Bang & Olufsen MMC2 cartridge installed on it, considered one of the best sounding moving-magnet cartridges ever made, and it spoiled me. Ever since that one went belly-up I've been trying to get a taste of that sound without spending thousands, with no luck. Grado, Ortofon, Sumiko - nope. Nothing reproduced the shimmering highs, growling bass, and lively detail that the B&O did - until I installed this cartridge on the old turntable. Some may find this cartridge a bit bright for their tastes, but I find it to be an excellent match to my Polk RTi-A9s and pretty even across the frequency spectrum. I no longer have to strain to hear the cymbals, triangles, and brushes on the high hats, or the ground-shaking organ pedal notes. And the realism in the midrange is outstanding, too, revealing the texture of the instruments and how they're being played - I swear I can hear Leo Kottke's fingers on the guitar strings. I won't bore you with the details about tracking (superb), noise floor (silent), inner-groove distortion (none). If the Ortofon 2Ms and OMs are Gene Kelly (technically perfect but lacking in feeling), this A-T is Fred Astaire. Could I do better in this price range? Maybe, but probably not with my need for a medium-to-high-compliance cartridge for my lightweight tonearm.

Pros: Superb, balanced, detailed, full-frequency sound. Great tracking, no distortion. Very good value for the features. Easy alignment with the flat front, and not critically sensitive to vertical tracking angle. Comes with multiple lengths of mounting screws, screwdriver, and soft stylus cleaning brush.

Cons: Not the prettiest cartridge. Stylus tip recessed under the body is hard to see for cueing, cleaning, and placement for installation and alignment.

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2 of 2 found this helpful

Killer cartridge!

Crutchfield customer from Rixeyville, VA on 9/8/2020

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Very nice upgrade for my Fluance RT81. Sounds magnificent.

Pros: Fairly easy set up on Fluance RT81

Cons: None

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0 of 1 found this helpful

Audio-Technica VM540ML

Ernest from Dallas, TX on 6/23/2020

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I was considering upgrading my turntable (Fluance RT81 with The AT95E stylusd), but decided to hold off for now and bought the AT VN540ML. I noticed the difference as soon as the needle hit the record! I listen to a variety of music from Sly to classical; Tom Misch to Coletrane and this needle delivers. Sound is crystal clear and I'm hearings sounds I haven't previously heard. While the AT95 wasn't no slouch, upgrading to this stylus vast improvement. Installment was easy as was balancing. Thoroughly satisfied.

Pros: The sound, setup

Cons: None

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2 of 2 found this helpful

Audio-Technica VM540ML

Crutchfield customer from Jim Thorpe, PA on 6/14/2020

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An incredible upgrade to my system!

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Cons:

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1 of 2 found this helpful

Audio-Technica VM540ML

Crutchfield customer from Eastchester, NY on 2/9/2020

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Extremely happy with this purchase. Quality and depth of sound, especially on my newer vinyl is superb. Thinking of buying another for my Oracle turntable.

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1 of 1 found this helpful

Bargain at the price

Ken from Auburn, CA on 12/12/2018

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I currently use several different turntables. This is the first Audio-Technica I have ever used. I wanted a moderately priced cartridge to put in the turntable I use to audition newly acquired vinyl which mostly comes from thrift stores and garage sales and from the $2.00 bins in record stores, with the occasional nicer piece of used vinyl. I do this to spare my more expensive cartridges from the first go around of digging out fifty to sixty years worth of who-knows-what-kind-of-gunk that may still be in the grooves even after cleaning the record. I am pleasantly surprised. This cartridge compares quite favorably with the $500 low output moving coil cartridge it replaced, especially in extracting detail. I don't notice any difference in bass or tracking ability. Worth the money.

Pros: Punches way above its weight class

Cons: none

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8 of 8 found this helpful

VM540ML

Larry from Washington, MI on 6/8/2018

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I have always used Audio Technica products. I resurrected my old Sony PS-3300 and installed this cartridge using a mirrored protractor and digital stylus force gage.. It's great and Crutchfield is the best.

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1 of 2 found this helpful

Outstanding cartridge.

Paul from San Francisco, CA on 1/29/2018

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I bought this marvelous cartridge together with an Audio-Technica VM610 MONO (aaah...the beauty of having an older turntable with changeable head shells!). Having considered the switch from an old Stanton 680EE (and scoping out just about everything else from Ortofon, Shure, Sumiko, etc.) I liked what Audio-Technica was offering with their new line and had had some experience with their cartridges in the past. I made the right choice. This cartridge sounds amazing (and I listen to all types of music). The bass is full but taut. Highs are crystal clear but not too shrill. Channel separation is excellent, and inner groove distortion is miraculously absent (at an even 2 grams, no less). That said, you will most definitely have to take the time to align and experiment with the VTA on this cartridge to reap it's benefits. In that regard, I found that making the tone arm parallel to the record was not best to my ears. (Listen to your ears and forget what you read or see on the internet with regards to VTA, folks.) I used a very thin (.038 inches, to be exact) aluminum shim between the cart and head shell and a carbon fibre slip mat on top of the stock rubber mat on my Phillips AF 777 turntable. Depending on how thick or thin any given record is, my tone arm is pitching ever-so-slightly downward and I am very pleased with the results. A great price and the usual excellent service from Crutchfield made this an excellent upgrade. Cheers!

Pros: Lovely sound.

Cons: Not really a "con", but it helps if you know what you're doing with the set up.

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5 of 5 found this helpful

Great for dogs!

Andy from Cuyahoga Falls, OH on 1/29/2018

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I am reviewing the VM540ML in comparison to the Audio Technica AT120EB cartridge. I wanted to step up from the AT120EB, not so much out of dissatisfaction, but out of curiosity. The AT120EB is a great cartridge, and reproduces all genres of music capably. The VM540ML is an extremely bright cartridge in comparison to the AT120EB. It's as if there is a shelf-like boost to all frequencies above 14kHz. Also, it seems less "3-Dimensional" than the 120EB. (I HATE subjective terms like that - but it's the only way I can describe it.) I can't really recommend this cartridge, unless you have an audio system that is lacking in high frequencies!

Pros: Wide frequency range, good stereo separation, tracks really well, low inner grove distortion

Cons: VERY bright

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5 of 9 found this helpful

Crisp Highs

Jeff from Princeton, WV on 11/15/2017

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Extended highs and good tracking with this AT cartridge.

Pros: extended highs and microline stylus.

Cons: Screws that came with the cartridge didn't fit my rega headshell had to use different ones. Dated look.

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1 of 4 found this helpful

Audio-Technica VM540ML

Crutchfield customer from Michigan on 8/11/2017

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Awesome upgrade cartridge - this one really delivers amazing sound, but it does requires that you accurately align the cartridge and set VTA.

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5 of 7 found this helpful

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